Iraqi protesters on Wednesday took to the streets in Baghdad and other provinces for a second day, in spite tight security measures aimed at stopping demonstrators from gathering.
According to witnesses, thousands of protesters gathered at different areas in Baghdad as security forces fired shots in the air and used tear gas in a bid to disperse the crowd.
Earlier, security forces blocked roads leading to central Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, to stop the protesters who later managed to reach the square and gathered in different neighbourhoods.
Security sources said demonstrations also took place in the provinces of al-Nasiriyah, al-Najaf and Diyala, among others. In some areas, the crowd started burning tyres and blocking main streets.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Adel Abdul-Mahdi, held an emergency meeting with the National Security Council.
The U.S. embassy in Baghdad said it regretted the deaths during the protests and urged both sides to exercise restraint.
“The right to demonstrate peacefully is a fundamental right in all democracies, but there is no place for violence in demonstrations from any side,“ it said.
Earlier, security forces used tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters in Baghdad.
Abdul-Mahdi, who assumed duty as the Prime Minister, in 2018 tried to calm the protesters, reaffirming government’s commitment to addressing their accumulated grievances.
Iraqis have taken to the streets several times since 2018 to protest unemployment, corruption and lack of basic amenities.
Edited by Yahaya Isah/Dada Ahmed
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